How to Buy Bitcoin in Canada

Updated: Sep 20, 2022  |  Published: May 24, 2021

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If it's your first time buying Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies, it can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to buy Bitcoin since there are more choices than ever.

In this post you’ll learn the 4 ways to buy Bitcoin, how to choose the right platform, how to avoid hidden fees, and more. Let’s jump right in.

There are four main ways to buy Bitcoin in Canada:

  1. An Online Crypto Exchange or Broker (Newton, Shakepay, Coinbase, etc)
  2. A Bitcoin ETF in your Stock Brokerage (Wealthsimple Trade, Questrade, etc)
  3. A Bitcoin ATM in Person
  4. Have a person or friend send you Bitcoin

We’ll cover the first two choices and the pros and cons of each since they’re the most popular


Option 1

Buying Bitcoin on a Crypto Exchange

Purchasing Bitcoin on a crypto exchange is the most common method. 

There's countless crypto exchanges in Canada and many of them are beginner friendly.

In addition, most of them let you withdraw your Bitcoin which means you can have full ownership of your funds, become your own bank and no one can stop you. That also comes with more responsibility such as learning how to store it safely.

Pros & Cons of Crypto Exchanges:

  • Beginner-friendly options: Most Canadian exchanges are simple and easy to use
  • You own the Bitcoin: If you transfer the Bitcoin off the exchange onto your own wallet, you have full ownership and no one can stop you
  • Access to altcoins: If you want, you'll be able to trade Bitcoin for 1000's of other cryptocurrencies
  • You can't put it in tax-sheltered accounts: The only way to get Bitcoin in your TFSA or RRSP is through an ETF
  • More responsibility: You're responsible for learning how to store it and not lose it (it's not recommended to leave it on an exchange)
  • Bigger learning curve: For the same reason above, there is more to learn compared to just holding the ETF

Best Canadian Crypto Exchanges

If you want to buy Bitcoin directly there are many crypto exchanges in Canada. After comparing 18 platforms these are the top places for buying Bitcoin cheaply and easily:

Newton Crypto Exchange

Low cost:

1. Newton

Purchase fee:

0.69%

NDAX.io

Intermediate:

2. NDAX

Purchase fee:

0.49%

Shakepay Exchange

Beginner-friendly:

2. Shakepay

Purchase fee:

1.03%

How to Sign Up For a Crypto Exchange

Signing up for a Canadian crypto exchange is similar to opening a bank account or stock brokerage account. You need to verify your identity, provide personal info and the process takes 5-15 minutes. This is required by-law due to Canadian laws and regulations.

Once your account is verified, which is usually instant but can also take a few days, you can deposit money. Many places let you deposit CAD with e-transfer which are free and instant.

Storing Your Bitcoin

Once you buy Bitcoin on a crypto exchange you have to decide how to store it. You can leave it on the exchange but that's not recommended for large amounts. Exchanges are big targets for hackers. The safest way to store your crypto is on a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano.


Option 2

Buying a Bitcoin ETF

Canada has approved at least 6 Bitcoin ETFs and all you need is a stock brokerage account.

The main advantage here is you can put Bitcoin ETFs in your TFSA or RRSP. You can't do this when buying Bitcoin directly. This method is also easier for beginners since you don't have to worry about wallets or how to store your Bitcoin safely.

The downside is you need to pay management fees to the fund and you don't own the Bitcoin directly. You can't transfer your Bitcoin to other wallets, you just have exposure to the price.

This video explains everything about how to buy crypto in your TFSA:

Pros & Cons of Bitcoin ETFs:

  • Tax-free gains - You can hold it in your TFSA or RRSP. You can not do this by buying Bitcoin directly
  • Convenient - If you already have a stock brokerage account you don't need to go through the process of signing up for a crypto exchange
  • Easier for beginners - If you're already familiar with your stock brokerage account you don't have to learn how crypto wallets work, how to store funds safely, etc
  • You don't own the Bitcoin - There's a popular phrase in crypto, "not your keys, not your coins." If you buy an ETF, someone else owns your crypto
  • Management fees - Bitcoin ETFs have a yearly management fee that goes to the fund which ranges from 0.40% to 1.00% 
  • Less flexibility - Since you don't own the Bitcoin, you can't transfer it, trade it for other altcoins or do anything else. It's stuck in your brokerage account until you sell 

Bitcoin ETFs in Canada

At the time of this writing, 6 Bitcoin ETFs have been approved in Canada:

Name

Symbol

MER

Management Fee

Country

Website

Purpose Bitcoin ETF

TSX: BTCC

1.50% max

1.00%

🇨🇦 Canada

Ninepoint Bitcoin ETF

TSX: BITC

1.45%

0.70%

🇨🇦 Canada

Fidelity Advantage Bitcoin ETF

TSX: FBTC

0.95%

0.40%

🇨🇦 Canada

Evolve Bitcoin ETF

TSX: EBIT

1.82%

0.75%

🇨🇦 Canada

CI Galaxy Bitcoin ETF

TSX: BTCX

0.95%

0.40%

🇨🇦 Canada

3iQ Coinshares Bitcoin ETF

TSX: BTCQ

1.25% max

1.00%

🇨🇦 Canada

Best Stock Brokerages

To buy any of the Bitcoin ETFs above, you need an online stock brokerage. There are many choices in Canada but these are my top two recommendations for low fees and good features:

Wealthsimple Trade Crypto Logo

Beginner friendly

1. Wealthsimple

Questrade

Intermediate

2. Questrade

Review soon

How to Sign Up For a Stock Brokerage

Signing up for a stock brokerage is similar to opening a bank account. You will need to verify your identity and provide personal info and the process takes 5-15 minutes. This is required by-law due to Canadian laws and regulations.

Once your account is verified, which can take a few hours or a few days, you can deposit money by connecting your bank account.


FAQ

Is Buying Bitcoin Legal In Canada?

It is perfectly legal to buy Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in Canada. The Government of Canada's website says, “You can use digital currencies to buy goods and services on the Internet and in stores that accept digital currencies. You may also buy and sell digital currency on open exchanges.”

Is Bitcoin Taxed In Canada?

Yes, taxpayers are required to pay tax on Bitcoin and digital currencies in Canada. The CRA published a crypto tax guide with more info. A taxable event includes:

  • Trading or exchanging one cryptocurrency for another
  • Converting cryptocurrency to fiat currency
  • Using crypto to buy goods or services
  • Selling or gifting cryptocurrency

Can I Buy $1 Worth Of Bitcoin?

You can purchase Bitcoin for $1 or any amount you wish because one Bitcoin can be divided into 100,000,000 Satoshis. However, you may encounter a minimum limit when you're purchasing Bitcoin on an exchange.

Can I Buy Bitcoin With A Credit Card In Canada?

Yes, Canadians can buy Bitcoin anywhere a credit card is supported such as BinanceNetcoins and more. However, it's generally a lot more expensive since the fees can range from 2% to 5% or more. Also, keep in mind your credit card company may block the transaction because it's "suspicious."

Alex Dabek

RankFi.com (Contributor)

Alex is the owner of RankFi.com, where he covers all things Web3 and cryptocurrency. He's been passionate about blockchain technology since 2017 and has reviewed more than 100 crypto exchanges, brokers, and DeFi applications.